When it comes to computing, speed matters. So does resiliency. Today, we’re proud to announce the completion of the Marea subsea cable, which is unmatched in its capabilities. Spanish for tide, Marea is a joint project between Microsoft, Facebook and global telecommunication infrastructure company Telxius, that helps to upgrade the global internet infrastructure to better meet the rapidly growing demand for internet and cloud services in our increasingly connected world.
Lying more than 17,000 feet below the ocean’s surface, Marea is the most technologically advanced subsea cable to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and the first cable to connect Virginia and Spain, landing in Virginia Beach and Bilbao.
The value of partnering for success
Recognizing a need for greater resiliency for networks across the Atlantic, Microsoft, Facebook and Telxius pursued the creation of Marea along a route south of existing transatlantic cable systems. Being physically separate from the other cables helps ensure more resilient and reliable connections for customers in the United States, Europe and beyond.
The Marea cable’s new “open” design allows it to evolve with technology, ensuring the highest performance for users now and well into the future, even as the global population of internet users grows. And make no mistake, the demand is growing. Just think of the many high-bandwidth applications and content you use today such as Skype and Facebook Live, and the volume of streaming videos, movies and music consumed daily. This ability to interoperate with many different kinds of networking equipment brings significant benefits including lower costs and easier equipment upgrades, leading to faster growth in bandwidth rates.
Completed in less than two years — nearly three times faster than is typical — Marea is a powerful example of the important role the private sector has to play in connecting the world. It also set a new standard for subsea cables because it is designed to meet today’s demand and evolve with the progress of tomorrow, allowing companies offering digital services to be better equipped to handle cross-border internet traffic, which is expected to increase eightfold by 2025.
Rapid growth demands strong investment
At more than 4,000 miles (6,600 kilometers) long and almost 10.25 million pounds (4.65 million kilograms) — or about the weight of 34 blue whales — the Marea cable is a feat of engineering, collaboration and innovation. The cable can transmit up to 160 terabits of data per second. That’s more than 16 million times faster than the average home internet connection, making it capable of streaming 71 million high-definition videos simultaneously.
In a time when global economies are deepening their reliance on cloud technologies, and both private and public sectors are embracing the opportunities for growth and improvement through digital transformation, we’re energized by the impact the Marea subsea cable will have on the advancement of cloud computing and digital services. And we look forward to furthering our respective investments in building high-tech infrastructure to better connect our world, foster economic growth and advance technological capabilities.
Learn more about the Marea project
We’re excited to share this technological feat and take some time upon the completion to explore what the cable means for connecting businesses in the U.S. and Europe, as well as the next billion internet users in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
We will livestream the celebration from Williamsburg, Virginia, at 9:30 a.m. ET Friday (recorded playback will be available). Microsoft and our partners will be joined onstage by U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. We hope you’ll join us online as well to explore our photos, videos and interactive multimedia features about the construction of the Marea subsea cable.
Enabling the Azure cloud platform
Marea will enhance the Microsoft Cloud, which is supported by one of the largest multi-terabit networks on the planet, through additional capacity and resiliency. As part of Microsoft’s mission to enable every person and organization to achieve more, we continue to grow Microsoft Cloud offerings and build out the unprecedented level of global infrastructure required to enable ever-faster and even more resilient connections.
That’s why today we’re also announcing Azure Availability Zones, our latest infrastructure service, which increases Azure’s resiliency capabilities, broadens customer options for business continuity and enables customers to deliver highly available applications and cloud services around the world. Learn more on the Microsoft Azure Blog and the Azure site.
Through our global infrastructure, our Azure cloud platform offers the scale needed to bring applications closer to users and customers around the world.